Angry Young Pachyderms (AYP)—Could This Be Any Cheesier? (Demo, 1995)

In the summer of 1995, four young men entered a Santa Ana, California recording studio with the intention of committing to tape five songs that would blow the world (or maybe just the high desert of Southern California) away. Enlisting the help of recording engineer and studio owner Jim Barnes, the quartet commonly known as AYP poured their hearts (and their pooled $750) into their first “real” demo.
Now, 23 years later, a copy of the fabled demo—many self-pirated copies of which were distributed on pre-existing cassettes with the tabs taped over, such as the Amway cassette in the photo—has been unearthed, transferred to digital, and uploaded to YouTube. A million thanks to Mike Clayton for putting AYP in the digital age.

Utilizing a unique mix of influences, the band practically had a split personality: combining songs that featured the heaviness of metal with a punk influenced batch of tunes that ranged from the lighthearted to the cerebral.

Kicking off the tape is Dope, a scorcher of an opener and one of the standout tracks, with music that sounds a bit like Helmet with more palm muting, and vocals that sound like the band’s singer is a powder keg just waiting to go off—and that he does during the last verse, bringing the song to an explosive climax. It’s a tough act to follow, but follow it they do with If, their breakneck punk dis track to bible thumpers everywhere. In contrast to the mid-tempo opener, If is blisteringly fast, and calls to mind the Bad Religion school of SoCal hardcore, complete with harmonized backing vocals (!) that help strike a balance with the aggressive tempo and lyrics.

DJ Smithson, Justin White

The Gary Larson-inspired band slows things down a bit for the still-majorly uptempo shout out to one of their favorite TV shows, the B-movie roasting Mystery Science Theater 3000,  Ode to Joel. The song is admirable in its intentions, but so starkly different in tone (especially lyrically) that it sticks out like a sore thumb among the other darker, more serious tunes.

DJ Smithson, Justin White

Penultimate track Disinfect gets the guys back on track thematically with a more groove metal-influenced number, featuring a nice bass-and-drum breakdown in the middle that is virtually ruined by a far-too-long, masturbatory guitar-noise solo. Things pick back up nicely once the guitarist stops fellating Tom Morello, and, like opener Dope, finishes strong, with venom-spitting vocals over the band chugging along at full roar.

Dan Carlton

The Pachyderms close the demo out with a cover of Berlin’s Metro, a song that lends itself surprisingly well to AYP’s idiosyncrasies—it allows them to be heavy as well as to punk the song up, with a tongue-in-cheek vocal delivery that lets you know the band isn’t taking itself too seriously.


They were far from perfect, but Angry Young Pachyderms showed a lot of promise, and one can’t help but wonder (especially with 23 years of nostalgia factoring in) what could’ve been had the band continued recording and performing with this lineup intact. But that’s neither here nor there—what matters is the good memories and music the guys can be proud of, thanks in part to this 14 minute time capsule.

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